Republic of Ireland news

More than half of Down Syndrome pregnancies in Republic terminated

Figures from the Republic's three main maternity hospitals suggest that around half of babies diagnosed in the womb with Down Syndrome are aborted

MORE than half of babies diagnosed in the womb with Down Syndrome in Dublin's three main maternity hospitals are aborted, figures suggest.

The women made the decision after availing of a diagnostic test 12 to 13 weeks into pregnancy at the National Maternity Hospital in Holles Street, the Coombe Hospital and Rotunda Hospital.

The Irish Independent reported that 21 pregnant women were informed their baby had Down Syndrome following tests at the Coombe Hospital in 2016.

Of these, 14 - or 66 per cent - went on to have a termination in Britain, while five of the babies were born in the hospital and two women had miscarriages.

There were said to be 26 cases of pre-natal diagnosis of Down Syndrome in the Rotunda Hospital during the same year, with 57 per cent of mothers choosing to have a termination.

Around half of women who have had the test at the National Maternity Hospital also had an abortion after being informed their baby would have Down Syndrome.

The statistics only relate to mothers who opted for a diagnostic test.

Dr Rhona Mahony from Holles Street said the "screening test is 99 per cent predictive" and that around 1,000 women who attend the hospital avail of it each year.

"It looks like 50 per cent continue and not continue," she said.

The Republic is preparing to vote in a referendum later this month on whether to repeal the eighth amendment of the constitution which effectively outlaws abortion, giving power to politicians to change the law.

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